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Does your business accommodate disabled employees?

by , 01 March 2013
On the whole, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's Budget Speech on Wednesday went down well. But it'll take a while for all the information covered by Gordhan to be digested. And citizens have already taken to Twitter to voice their concerns. They're accusing Gordhan of discrimination against disabled job applicants...

One of the topics raised in the Budget Speech that's causing concern on Twitter is Gordhan's statement that 'All able-bodied people should have a job'. 
Truth is, they don't. 
South Africa's latest unemployment figures show that unemployment has dropped to 24.9% against an expected rise to 26%.
But that's still a full quarter of the population that's unemployed, says the Business Day's BDLive website.
Don't discriminate against disabled job applicants!
And citizens are now wondering if this means disabled job applicants will be overlooked in an attempt to get all able-bodied job-seekers working.
Current labour law won't allow this, as your business is obliged to provide an enabling environment for disabled employees.
If you've employed a disabled employee, he will have special needs to be met.
If you don't meet these needs, you risk discrimination against your disabled employee, explains the Department of Labour.
Here's how to accommodate disabled employees in your workplace
'Examples of reasonable accommodation include accessible working areas, modifications to buildings and facilities, and flexible working hours,' explains The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.
Some of these modifications to buildings would mean making sure there's a lift if you expect your disabled employee to sit at a desk on the second floor, and making sure there are ramps leading up to the building.
But a special needs employee isn't just an employee in a wheelchair.
The definition includes anyone with a mental or physical disability that limits a major life activity, such as the ability to walk, hear, or see, explains the Health and Safety Bulletin.
So do a full risk assessment once you've hired a disabled employee to make sure his special needs are met.
It's one way to ensure you comply with the Employment Equity Act!

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